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PGCE Secondary Biology

Course summary

UCAS Teacher Training programme code: C1X1  

This course leads to the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) for the 11-to-16 age range, which qualifies you to be a teacher in secondary schools in England and Wales. Where possible, we also give you the chance to gain experience in the 11-to-18 age range.

Biology is the most popular science choice at A level. In addition to being a key component of Science in the National Curriculum, it is also offered as a separate GCSE option in many schools. It is the third-most studied A level subject overall, so there’s always a need for great biology teachers.

We see the development of your subject knowledge for teaching as a priority. The subject studies element of your training programme enables you to develop skills, knowledge and understanding of science, and particularly biology, in the secondary school context.

Our ethos is based on collaboration, not competition. We encourage you to work collaboratively just as you will when you qualify and start working in a school.

Return to campus: dual delivery

In a Covid-secure environment, enjoy learning on our state-of-the-art campuses and flex between online delivery

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90%

of trainees in a teaching post within six months

The overall proportion of our Secondary PGCE teacher trainees who are in a teaching post within six months of completing the course. Ahead of the sector average.

100

partnership schools

The number of secondary schools we work with across East London and into Essex in which our students undertake full placements. When they gain employment, most of our students secure jobs within our partnership schools.

SKE

Subject Knowledge Enhancement

We are proud of our longstanding practice of supporting non-traditional students. Our pre-course subject knowledge enhancement courses allow you to reinforce your degree with the subject knowledge you need to qualify as a specialist teacher.

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What you'll learn

We will support you to develop as a great biology teacher who can bring the subject to life by devising and delivering a diverse range of engaging lessons that educate and excite all pupils. 

You will consider the learning and teaching strategies that are relevant to biology. These include the aims of science teaching, planning, preparation and evaluation of learning experiences for children of different ages and abilities, school laboratory management, as well as the use of technology to support science teaching and learning. 

You will be guided by specialist tutors who have relevant teaching experience and who often contribute to educational research, policy and curriculum developments in your subject.

You will learn about children and child development in the core Active Inquiry and Technology-Enhanced Learning modules with the rest of the Secondary PGCE cohort.

For example, if the topic is behaviour management, your seminar group discussion will look at what managing behaviour means for an English teacher compared with a PE teacher or a design and technology teacher.

What you'll study and when

We consistently review and develop our courses and modules to ensure they are up-to-date with sector and industry graduate skills demands. Course structure, modules and options are subject to change.

Developing subject expertise and subject specialism
School-Based Learning: Reflections on Practice
Research informed practice 
Securing Pupil Progress 
Active Inquiry and Intervention: impacting upon Pupil Progress

How you'll be assessed

To pass your PGCE and be recommended for Qualified Teacher Status, you have to demonstrate that you have met the Teachers’ Standards.

While the course is modular, the emphasis is on the whole process of your development as a teacher. So, rather than a fragmentary approach, there is ongoing assessment, charting the often subtle transformations in your knowledge and understanding, and your practical skills.

Course specification

How you'll learn

We are very well equipped for initial teacher training with three specialist laboratories, including multimedia training equipment and materials. To develop your confidence in teaching outside the classroom, you will participate in outdoor education centre-based training. 

The university-based training initially consists of weekly lectures on themes that are then developed in seminar groups. You will work both in subject-specific groups and in mixed-subject groups.

We organise our training so that it feels like a school. We teach students mainly in small groups of 30 rather than in large lecture halls of 150 or 300 because it is important that you have plenty of time in your subject groups.

Your subject tutor will be like your form tutor at school. We believe that we should model good practice to you so that you can learn by example. 

You will undertake two long placements in contrasting schools, totalling 24 weeks. We work in partnership with over 100 schools and colleges to provide a high-quality programme of support.  

You will be on placement from week three, so right from the beginning of your training you will have a strong link between theory and practice. 

While an experienced teacher will be in the classroom with you, it is you who will be planning the lessons and teaching the lessons. You will start by observing the teacher, then helping. By the end of the Secondary PGCE course, you will be teaching 60 per cent of a normal teacher’s timetable.

You will have the opportunity to visit additional schools and settings. For instance, if your first placement is in a mixed comprehensive school in Barking & Dagenham, then you might go to a single-sex faith school in Havering for your second one. We also find you a school that supports your specialism.

Our tutors and subject mentors will advise and support you throughout each placement as you learn to teach.

Your future career

The Secondary PGCE course at the University of East London was designed in 2001 in conjunction with the local authorities to address the secondary education teacher shortage in east London.

The partnership works with input and support from the London Boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Waltham Forest and Redbridge.

It means that our graduates are represented in virtually every secondary school in east London. Some are now deputy heads or in senior management roles in schools that are taking our current trainees for their placements.

Across all subjects, from maths to modern languages, our teacher training graduates are acting as mentors to those following in their footsteps.

The partnership means that you have a head start when it comes to securing a teaching post in east London at the end of your training.

Both local authorities and individual schools visit our campus regularly to meet our trainees and advertise available vacancies.

You may also decide to undertake further study at the University of East London, either at the end of your course or after gaining teaching experience, perhaps specialising in Special Educational Needs or taking our MA Leadership in Education.

We also offer the opportunity for doctoral study to further develop your teaching knowledge and expertise.

We also offer the opportunity to undertake doctoral study to further develop your teaching knowledge and expertise.

Explore the different career options you can pursue with this degree and see the median salaries of the sector on our Career Coach portal

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Our international team travel overseas regularly to meet prospective students and attend recruitment fairs. Our academics also give regular lectures overseas and are happy to speak to prospective students. In addition, we have a large worldwide network of advisors who can provide guidance and support with applying to study at the University of East London.
 

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